Alan Shatter condemns racist vandalism in Dublin

Posters and graffiti with xenophobic messages reported in Dublin

 


Minister for Justice and Equality Alan Shatter has said there is “no room for racism in Irish society” following reports of xenophobic messages being posted in Dublin. A number of racist posters have appeared in the city centre in recent days, including two outside the Immigrant Council of Ireland office on St Andrew Street.

An African family living in a Dublin suburb were also targeted by vandals who spray-painted the front of their house with a racist message.

In a separate incident, the half-finished former Anglo Irish Bank building on North Wall Quay was vandalised with anti-Semitic graffiti. The building will house the new Central Bank headquarters.

The incidents have been reported to gardaí.

Mr Shatter said incidents of racism should not be understated and urged people to report such occurrences to the relevant authorities. He said Ireland has proved itself to be a welcoming place for immigrants, but must work to ensure this remains true.

“Thus far, we have avoided the extreme racial tensions that have emerged in many parts of Europe. However, we are aware that we must remain vigilant in this regard and the Government is committed to combating and challenging any and all manifestations of racism.”

Immigrant Council chief executive Denise Charlton said such messages “have no place in Dublin and will be rejected by all right-thinking people”.

Ms Charlton said the posters, some of which claim an “ethnic cleansing” of Irish people is under way, seemed to be part of “a co-ordinated action” as they had appeared in several areas across the city.

Jerry O’Connor of the ICI said it was important to note that both native Irish people and migrants alerted the organisation about the posters and took them down. He advised anyone who comes across such posters to report them. There needs to be a “proper record of the extent of racism in this country”, he said. The council receives about five complaints regarding incidents of serious racism a week, up from one a week this time last year. Mr O’Connor said this increase is partly due to publicity campaigns that encourage victims of abuse to speak out. He added that immigrants are generally reluctant to report such occurrences as they may be “fearful of being perceived as trouble-makers”.

The Irish Network Against Racism said this week’s incidents point to a growing problem throughout the country. Director Shane O’Curry said the “culture of tolerance” of racism in Ireland “sends a powerful message to racists that they can act on their view”.